Five men accused of plotting to murder passengers on London's transport system during failed suicide attacks on July 21 were to appear in court Thursday via videolink from a high-security prison. No one was killed that day, but the four near-simultaneous failed attacks shook Britain's capital two weeks after a suicide attack on the subway and bus system killed 56 people, including the four bombers, on July 7. A day after the failed attacks, anti-terror police shot and killed Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes at a subway station in London after mistaking him for a suicide bomber. De Menezes was shot seven times in the head.
The July 21 attacks failed when explosives carried by four men at three subway stations and a bus station in London did not properly detonate. At least one of the suspects was captured on closed-circuit TV, and all of them were arrested after escaping. The fifth man was arrested after another rucksack of explosives was found during a raid on an apartment building in London.
The five defendants were to plead guilty or innocent to the charges they face during a hearing before Justice Alexander Neil Butterfield at London's Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, on Thursday. The defendants include Muktar Said Ibrahim, 27; Ramzi Mohamed, 23; Yassin Omar, 24; and Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, 32, all four arrested in Britain. Hussein Osman, 27, was extradited to Britain from Italy after being captured there under a European arrest warrant.
All five have appeared at earlier pretrial hearings at the high-security Belmarsh Prison in southeast London, where they are being held.
After Thursday's proceeding at the Old Bailey, 10 other people charged in connection with the failed July 21 terrorist attacks were to appear via videolink from Belmarsh at a separate hearing before Butterfield.
Ethiopian-born Osman is believed to have been the man captured on closed-circuit TV footage attempting to bomb the Shepherd's Bush subway station July 21. He lost a two-month legal battle to avoid extradition from Italy.
Osman allegedly fled to Italy in the days after the bombings and was arrested in Rome on July 29 and extradited to England on Sept. 22. He has said through his lawyer that the bombing attempt was meant to scare people, not kill them.
Ibrahim, Mohamed and Omar each face four charges: attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to endanger life by using explosives, and making or possessing explosives with intent to endanger life. Asiedu is charged with conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life.
Osman is charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to murder. He also faces four charges under the Explosive Substances Act and a charge alleging he possessed explosives "for a purpose connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism." The 10 people charged in connection with the failed July 21 attacks include Osman's wife, Yeshiemebet Girma, 29, and her sister 21-year-old Mulumebet Girma, who are charged with failing to disclose information about Osman and with helping him to evade arrest.
Their brother, Asias Girma, 20, is charged with failing to disclose information about Osman and with assisting him in evading arrest. Mohamed Kabashi, 23, faces the same two charges. Another man, Abdul Sharif, 28, faces charges of failing to disclose information about Osman and another of the alleged bombers, Ramzi Mohamed, reports the AP. I.L.